Barcelona 2-2 Manchester United: Four Things We Learned

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Barcelona and Manchester United had put out a show at Camp Nou on Thursday night, with Red Devils returning from Spain with a 2-2 draw from the first leg of the Europa League knockout round play-off.

It was the home team that earned the lead after 50 minutes when Marcos Alonso scored on Raphinha’s assist. Man United did not take long to respond, equalising via Marcus Rashford and then getting into the lead thanks to Kounde own-goal. The final score came at the hands of former Leeds winger Raphinha, who made it 2-2 with 15 minutes to go. Here is what we learned from this exciting encounter.

Man United Came To Barcelona To Win

Erik Ten Hag said his team will want to get the most out of this match and that showed in front of 90.000 people in the Camp Nou. Manchester United went to Barcelona to win and they almost did it. Early on, United had their chances to go ahead while Barcelona were still sleepy, but ultimately, the Devils had to go the other way around. When Barca took the lead through Marcos Alonso, it seemed as if United found another gear – they needed mere nine minutes not only to equalise via Marcus Rashford, but also get the lead following Jules Kounde’s own goal. In the end, Barca made United pay for their misses and Ten Hag’s side will have to satisfy themselves with a draw. But the entire performance showed how much the Devils have grown this season.

Is There Anyone Better Than Rashford Right Now?

Marcus Rashford has 22 goals this season in all competitions, but incredible 14 of them came after the World Cup. Add three goals he scored in Qatar and he is on 17 in the last four months. The likes of Chelsea have since scored just six goals in total. Once again, Rashford was brilliant for United, not only because of the goal, but also the entire work he did, the way he was getting into chances. All of that begs the question – on form, is there currently a better player in the world than Man United’s homegrown star?

Weghorst Highlights The Need For Strengthening

This match was a good opportunity to see whether Wout Weghorst can get up to speed and maybe even surprise Barcelona. After the game, it became obvious that the Dutch striker’s presence in attack only further highlighted United’s need to find a world class striker in the summer. While Weghorst work rate can only be commended, the chance he missed when he went one-on-one with Ter Stegen proved he is simply not cut out for this level. He scored only once since joining United and his recent performances have been more unconvincing than at the very beginning.

Barca Weakened For Second Leg, United’s Advantage Minimised

Next Thursday we will find out who will reach the round of 16 of the Europa League, but Barcelona will be weakened for the return leg. Gavi’s injury will definitely keep him out of action for a several weeks, thus making Xavi Hernandez to think about different solutions for the left wing in that match. With the first match ended 2-2, however, this will not be a big deal for United, considering there is no away goal rule in UEFA competitions anymore. United’s best chance of going through will be to beat Barca at Old Trafford.

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